Continuing my look at players that may not be in the majority of collectors want lists we come to one of the better known players that will be appearing in this series. His name is Jim Abbott and what most people remember him for is that he was born without a right hand and still managed to play Major League Baseball.
I remember when he first appeared for the California Angels in 1989 as a 21 year old left handed hurler out of the University of Michigan. I was mesmerized by the way he could hold his glove and switch it to his throwing hand after delivering a pitch so he could be ready to field any balls hit his way. I first thought people would just bunt on him like crazy but he fielded his position well. In his ten years in the big leagues he amassed 72 put outs and 300 assists against only 9 errors and a third of those errors were committed his rookie year.
Jim was a solid pitcher early in his career winning twelve games his rookie season with an ERA of 3.92 that year. In 1991 he won 18 games with an ERA of 2.89 both numbers good for fourth in the AL that year. In 1993 he tossed a no hitter for the Yankees against the Indians. In his ten seasons he pitched more than 200 innings four times and twice his ERA was under three. He finished his career with 87 wins against 108 losses and a career ERA of 4.25, I would take that ERA all day long on the Rangers staff.
Jim was and is an inspiration to many but let me be honest here a bit, if he had both hands and put up the same career numbers I wouldn’t have a couple of pages of Jim Abbott cards in my binder. On the flipside if he had made just a brief appearance and had not been successful on the mound I wouldn’t have him in my binder either. But, Jim did overcome his physical limitation and he did it with class and on a level that earned him the right to pitch on a Major League mound.
For those of you that may be interested in more information on Jim Abbott you can check out his website at jimabbott.info for more goodies.